Julie Taymor’s lawsuit against the producers of “Spider Man: Turn off the Dark” has some serious consequences not yet explored. It turns out her lawyers are asking for a permanent injunction against the production until Taymor is paid for her work. The amount named in the suit is $1 million. The permanent injunctions, if granted, could stop the producers, Michael Cohl and 8 Legged Productions, from starting any “Turn off the Dark” presentations in other cities. The show has cost so much–maybe up to $75 million–that the idea was to take on national tours to places like Las Vegas and who knows, maybe Branson, Missouri.
Anyway, the injunctions would finish all that for the time being.
Taymor’s lawsuit is based on the theory that she copyrighted her Original Book, and that the show now uses almost 75% of that material. (The New York Times got that wrong.) Indeed, anyone who’s seen “Spider Man” evolve over time knows that the show is still essentially Taymor’s, just in a different order. What’s more interesting, I think, is that after all the fighting, and changes, and the ouster, the box office average is the same or lower than when Taymor’s version was fully up and running. But to make the changes, the producers added at least $10 million to their bottom line.
Frankly, I’m surprised Bono and The Edge have allowed all this to go on. They’re both advocates for artists’ rights. And their astute manager, Paul McGuiness, has been forthright in making sure recording artists get paid for their work. Maybe they can intercede and end this ugliness.